Something Is Out of Place

Have you ever walked past something or into a room and thought something seemed out of place?  Sometimes it takes a minute to register.  Or are you so distracted with life that you’re not always apt to notice things that don’t seem quite right?

On a recent trip to Meijer (a superstore in the Midwest) I walked past a grocery cart that held a woman’s purse.  It clearly belonged to someone (meaning it wasn’t a new purse that someone was just purchasing) but there was no one else around.  I walked past, then stopped in my tracks and backtracked to the unaccompanied purse.  I looked around the area, yet found no one who appeared to belong to the purse.

Admittedly my mind sometimes goes from 0-60 in three seconds flat. At that moment my first thought was “Oh gosh, who would leave her purse just sitting there like that?  Anyone could snatch it, find out where she lives and other personal information about her, take her phone, keys and her credit cards, wow could she be really screwed.”

Next my mind wandered and thought, “Oh no, did something happen to the shopper?  Is she passed out down one of these aisles? Maybe she had a heart attack.  Or maybe she’s fallen and she can’t get up.”

Then like any good personal safety professional, I thought, “Hmm, someone must have abducted this person, because who would willingly leave her purse behind.  I’ve been telling people it can happen in a blink, but no one ever thinks it’ll happen to them.”

As I stood frozen, staring at the unattended cart, trying to determine what action I needed to take, a woman appeared out of nowhere. “Is that your purse?” I asked.  She made some comment about how she didn’t intend to walk away from it, but was distracted by socks. (Socks? Yes that’s what she said).

So this one ended well, but it made me pause to wonder how many people would A: recognize that something was out of place and B:  Do anything about it.

Do you think we’ve become so complacent as a society that we don’t recognize if something is out of place?  Or do you think that people simply don’t want to get involved?

How’s your domain awareness?  Would you notice if something was out of place? Would you do anything about it?  Would you know what to do?

Do you have a similar situation you can share with us?

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